Summary: In one parable, Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a seed that grows and in another parable, like the tiny mustard seed. This sermon examines two Kingdom Parables.
#20: Kingdom Parables
June 14, 2020
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TEXT: Mark 4:26-32 – "And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; 27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. 28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. 29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. 30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.".
B. Illus. – When I was an associate pastor in the U.S., I always had a vegetable garden.
1. I would take little seeds, plant them in the ground, wait till they sprouted, weed the garden, water when necessary, and finally we would bring in the harvest.
2. In doing that, I learned some things about gardening and farming that are universal.
D. In our text today are two parables about seeds, and they describe things that every gardener or farmer knows and understands.
E. Both parables have the theme of “this is what the kingdom of God is like.”
1. They illustrate the character of the coming kingdom of God.
2. The common thread of them is that the presence of Jesus on earth signaled the release of mysterious forces of God which began small, but would grow on earth and will eventually culminate in the full majesty and rule of God in all the earth and heavens.
G. It seems hard to believe that two short parables could reveal so much, but they teach us amazing, even surprising, things about the kingdom of God.
H. Let’s launch into Mark 4:26-32 and see what these two parables teach us.
I. IN VERSES 26-29 WE HAVE THE PARABLE OF THE GROWING SEED.
This parable has the distinction of being the only parable unique to Mark and not found in any of the other gospels. Broken down, Jesus teaches three things about the kingdom of God in this parable.
1) Note first of all in verse 26 that THE FARMER SOWS – “And he said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed into the ground”
Now before we go on, let that verse sink into your mind for a moment. You would think the kingdom of God should be compared to something great and grandiose. But Jesus compares it to SEEDS, the most banal and humble of things He could have likened it to.
James R. Edwards says, “The paradox of the gospel—indeed, the scandal of the Incarnation—is disguised in such commonplaces. The God whom Jesus introduces will not be kept at celestial arm’s length. Jesus does not tell us how high and lofty God is but how very near and present he is, and how the routines of planting and harvesting are mundane clues to the nature and plan of God.”
As in the Parable of the Soils, this parable starts with a sower who scatters the seed. There is no harvest if sowers do not sow the seed into the ground. Jesus is saying that there is a part for us to do. There’s a part only God can do, but there’s a role for us too. Part of our role is to sow the seed, and there’s more for us to do, as we’ll see.
2) In verses 27-28, we see that it is GOD who GROWS the seed – “And should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full grain in the ear.”
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to the process of growth. Several phrases give us key insights into the growth of God’s kingdom.
• First, Jesus tells us that the growth of the kingdom of God is NOT ALWAYS DISCERNABLE – Verse 27a – “And should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows…”